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On the Passing of Betty Friedan

Statement from the Center for American Progress

This weekend, we mourned the passing of Betty Friedan, author of the groundbreaking 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique; a founder of the National Organization for Women, the National Women's Political Caucus, and what would become NARAL Pro-Choice America; and a catalyst for the modern women's movement.

In naming the "problem that has no name" – the lack of fulfillment many housewives derived from devoting all their time to catering to their husbands’ and children’s needs – Friedan argued that women should be able to pursue their interests beyond the home and sparked a cultural revolution that led to greater equality in the workplace and the classroom. Although her initial analysis was limited to the experience of white middle-class heterosexual women, she nevertheless was a pioneer for issues such as equal pay for comparable work, maternity leave, and gender-neutral job requirements, which have benefited countless women of all backgrounds over the years.

Friedan's work challenged sexist stereotypes and changed in the American psyche the very definition of what it means to be a woman. For that, we are proud to honor her legacy and inspired to continue her work of advancing the equality of women and girls in all spheres of life.

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